how much does our sense of time and the importance of time owe to the development and creation of clocks.
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I feel our sense of time did not bring about the need for the development of clocks as much as the need for accurate time-keeping for traveling long distances. As I said before ships used lat. and longitude to find their current location on the map. They needed to keep time well to do this. This is when clocks finally got accurate. Like I said before, sun dials are not very accurate and are based on the length of the day, and they are pretty much worthless on ships. Then came hour glasses which were at least usable on a ship but not very accurate and had to be held to counteract the swaying of the ship and then flipped over when time was up. What kind of clocks are we talking about? All clocks, including ancient ones? Or mechanical clocks?
ancient ones from the first till the modern ones
So, how has our sense of time and our need to keep time affected the development of clocks? I'm more of facts-guy. I don't know if my literary abilities are good enough to give an elegant answer to this. But I'll try.
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Throughout the millenia many civilizations have developed their own ways to record and keep time. In ancient times, the Egyptians and Sumerians saw that the sun rose and set, like clockwork, every day and that they could use the shadows it cast to make sun-dials to record the time of day. This made keeping time at night or when overcast a problem though, so hourglasses were developed to adress this. These needed constant supervision and handling by man so the waterclock came about. The mechanical clock, what we use today, came about in the first century and evolved into the extremely accurate and portable time pieces of today. We humans seem to have developed an obsession with time, and in modern day it is always on one's mind. Today, someone who wants to be successful in life absolutely must be able to keep accurate time of day, days of the week, and months of the year. It is absolutely crucial and unavoidable. The clock is possibly the most important and taken for granted tool in our everyday lives. From the moment you wake up from your alarm clock, you constantly check the time as you prepare for work to assure you are punctual. You check the wall clock in your room as you dress and the one in the bathroom as you shave. You strap on your wrist watch as you leave for work, and check the clock in your car while pushing through traffic. We would be lost without knowing what time it is - day or night. We no longer wake because it's day break or sleep because it's night. We rely on our clocks to tell us its bed time or time to wake up. Time governs all our lives whether we want it to or not.
A huge advancement in telling time occurred in the 1300's when the first mechanical clocks which used bells to announce the time were introduced. These original clocks did not need faces since the sound of the bell indicated the time. These clocks used the weights of springs to power the bells.
A hundred years later it was discovered that the weights and springs could also move hands on the clocks to tell time with numbers.
In the year 1656, the pendulum clock was invented. The larger the clock the more accurate it was. These old clocks could have been off by as much as 15 minutes every day.
However, the pendulum clock, though a great advancement, was still not good for navigation at sea. For every minute lost at sea the ship could be off course by 15 miles. Many sailors lost their lives crashing against rocks because they were off course. In 1761, John Harrison was able to make a pocket watch so small and so accurate for British navigational use that it only lost five seconds in six and a half weeks. This made travel easier, and safer, and was one of the most important inventions in history. It was with this super accurate and portable clock that time began to have an impact on the life of the layman and govern his actions throughout the day. I believe this is when man's obsession with the construct of time really became apparent.
It is obvious that man has an innate infatuation and fascination with time, and this has driven the invention and refinement of time keeping ever since man's development of the concept of time.